There is no tougher day on the sports gambling calendar than the first Sunday of regular season NFL action. History dictates that a half-dozen teams will improve significantly on their 2011 totals, while the same number of teams will regress from last year. Who will get better and who will decline? We don’t know yet, and that’s the problem. You’re being asked to bet on 2012 using 2011 lines, and that’s not easy. With that in mind, here’s your Week 1 philosophy – don’t get cute. Just pick the surest things you can find, whether the odds are great or not.
- NEW ORLEANS (-7) over Washington: You’ve got to love this line. A rookie quarterback coming into a fired-up Superdome to face one of the best offenses in NFL history? No matter how bad the Saints’ defense is, the offense will pace New Orleans in this game. The Saints should dominate, and as such they make a great pick in any survival pool.
- San Francisco (+195) over GREEN BAY: Of all the underdogs in Week 1, the 49ers have the best chance of winning. And at +195, they’re a steal. The 49ers won on the East Coast four times last year, so you know they can play on the road, and they gave the Giants a much tougher time than Green Bay did in the playoffs.
- Atlanta at KANSAS CITY (o/u 43.5): OVER. Arrowhead Stadium is a tough place to play, but it won’t be able to slow down Julio Jones, Roddy White and the prolific passing game of the Falcons. On the other side, Dwayne Bowe is back from his holdout and Jamaal Charles returns after missing most of 2011 due to injury, so the game won’t be as one-sided as it might seem. Regardless of the outcome, these teams seem destined to break the relatively low over/under.
Whether you prefer parlay or sports gambling the traditional way, these bets are a great way to start your season on the positive note. Remember, don’t take any huge risks in Week 1 – if there’s one thing we know, it’s that we don’t know anything yet.